“There is a sun within every person.” - Rumi
For thousands of years the sun has been revered as the source of all life. The Hindus call it Surya, the Creator, the physical and spiritual heart of the world. Ancient Mayans interpreted celestial movements as gods travelling between worlds. The sheer perfection of our position in relation to the sun’s sustaining light is a mathematical improbability that the most rational among us can’t fail to marvel at.
In short, the sun is life.
In Yogic traditions, the early morning hours are considered the most spiritually charged, ideal for meditation, yoga and pranayama. Rising before dawn is thought to raise our ’sattvic vibration’ and heighten mental clarity and positivity. Sunlight also increases the brain’s release of serotonin, helping us feel happy and relaxed. Sitting with cacao in the golden glow of the sun is something I highly recommend!
Our bodies are light sensitive which is why living in the modern world can throw out our natural rhythm. Spending time on screens after sunset, for example, can inhibit the production of melatonin which our body produces for restful sleep. The sun however offers a visible rhythm we can follow wherever we are. According to Ayurveda practitioner Ananta Ripa Ajmera, ‘Living in alignment with the course and direction of the sun allows us to live in the healthiest and happiest way possible.’
Bringing the sun into our awareness first thing every morning is a powerful practice of connection and restoring our natural rhythm. It can be as simple as relishing it’s warmth on our bare skin, or as invigorating as ten rounds of Surya Namaskar.
According to Sri. K. Pattabhi Jois, ‘No asana practice is complete without sun worship.’ The father of Ashtanga yoga goes on to say, ‘It is necessary, before beginning the sun salutations, to pray to Surya… to bestow upon us the good fortune of having only good thoughts, of hearing and speaking only good words, and of attaining a sound and strong body, so that we may have a long life and, one day, achieve oneness with God.’
Movement can be like prayer in motion. It synchronises energy between our physical body and spirit, revealing that we are in fact, a microcosm of the universe. The ancient yogis taught that each of us contains ‘rivers, seas, mountains, fields… stars, planets, the sun and moon.’
By honouring the sun and greeting it with devotion each new day, I find I am more present. My daily ritual of cacao and sunlight warms me through and through. I carry the medicine of cacao in my heart and the light of the sun in my soul. If ever the day wears on my spirit, all I have to do is lift my gaze to the sky, touch a hand to my heart and remind myself, ‘I’m home.’
Poem from Sown at the Seams with Wildflowers.
Laying in the morning sun
It’s the little things in life that truly count
Remembering how breath has the power to bring me life
Lengthen my spine
Lessen the ache in my lungs
Depths of sorrow
We have to face at times
Suspended between parallel and paradoxical worlds.
I am space and chaos
As much star as I am mycelium
The contrast often too striking to consider
Not only is there truth
In being both shadow and light
There is beauty
Of being all of it in every moment.
When moments arise
That threaten my peace
To steal my spaciousness
I can breathe.
Home in the complexity of life
Connected by the simplicity of breath
A miracle of love.